Friday, September 25, 2020

Ole Miss’ Mike Bianco Named National Coach of the Year

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor
adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

Ole Miss baseball coach Mike Bianco was named the 2020 National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball on Tuesday. Prior to the end of baseball, he and his team took a fantastic 16-1 mark on the season.

Bianco stepped into his 20th season as the Rebels’ head coach, but his time was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic after 17 games. Ole Miss’ only loss came on opening day to then No. 1 Louisville Cardinals. The Rebels fought back and won that series, and when the season concluded they were on a 16-game winning streak—the longest in college baseball this year and just one shy of the program record.

Bianco is the first Rebel head coach to be named National Coach of the Year. He joins Ole Miss legends Tom Swayze and Jake Gibbs, who combined for six Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year awards as the only Rebel baseball coaches to earn year-end honors.

Ole Miss closed out the year ranked in the top five nationally and extended their streak to 36 consecutive weeks in the top 25. Ole Miss led the nation in home runs with 37 through 17 games and finished in the top 10 nationally in slugging percentage (3rd), runs scored per game (3rd), total runs scored (5th) and walks drawn (7th).

On the mound, Ole Miss finished with a team ERA of 2.92, placing the staff among the top 50 in the country. The Rebels were also in the top 40 nationally in shutouts (12th), strikeout-to-walk ratio (20th), walks allowed per nine innings (29th), strikeouts per nine innings (32nd) and WHIP (36th).

A trio of Rebels including Tyler Keenan, Anthony Servideo and Doug Nikhazy were named as All-Americans this season. Coach Bianco had a duo of Freshman All-Americans in Hayden Dunhurst and Peyton Chatagnier.

Bianco’s squad was on pace for its third straight 40-win season before the 2020 campaign was cut short. After winning 48 in 2018, 41 in 2019 and racing out to a 16-1 start in 2020, Ole Miss is tied for the fourth-most wins in the nation since 2018 at 105.

Bianco improved his record as head coach to 767-440-1 (.635). He is Ole Miss Baseball’s all-time wins leader and is the third-winningest coach in SEC history, as well as the conference’s active wins leader.